MATCH REPORT: Newport 1-3 Blackpool
Blackpool withstood a late barrage of pressure to pick up a vital three points against relegation threatened Newport County.
The Seasiders appeared to be cruising after taking a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Bright Osayi-Samuel and Mark Cullen, which came either side of half time.
But the Exiles reduced arrears late on when Alex Samuel took advantage of a defensive mix up to ensure a frantic finish - but Gary Bowyer’s men stood up to the challenge and Osayi-Samuel secured the win with his second and Pool's third in the fifth minute of injury time.
The hard-earned victory, which sees Pool extend their unbeaten run to eight games, also sees Pool keep up the pressure on the League Two top seven, with only one solitary point separating Bowyer’s side from Exeter City in seventh.
The home side, clearly buoyed by their two successive wins since parting company with Graham Westley, made a bright start to the game as they looked to claw back some points on the teams above them.
Their first opportunity of note came when Ryan Bird appeared to have shrugged Tom Aldred off the ball to give him clear sight on goal, but referee Brett Huxtable brought the game back and awarded a free kick to Pool - much to the annoyance of the home fans.
The Seasiders hit back immediately with a good chance of their own, but Mark Cullen was only able to nod over from Colin Daniel’s teasing cross.
Newport appeared to be winning the battle early on but they were undone by a swift counter attack from Gary Bowyer’s men, who opened the lead just after 15 minutes.
Neil Danns unleashed Bright Osayi-Samuel down the left and he cut inside and made the most of the space afforded to him to by striking into the top corner, via a deflection and the underside of the crossbar.
Pool were almost made to pay for some lax defending as they fell asleep from a corner, which was well worked into the path of Sean Rigg who saw his goalbound effort well blocked.
Mark Cullen proved to be a constant nuisance for the Newport backline and almost found a second for Pool shortly before the half-time break.
The striker timed his run just right to latch onto Danns’ lofted ball before unleashing a curled effort on his weak foot that skimmed off the top of the crossbar.
Cullen hit the woodwork for a second time with an almost carbon copy of his first effort, as he produced a drilled effort on his weak foot which hit the outside of the post and bounced away to safety.
That wasn’t to be the final action of the half though, as Bird ran onto a wayward pass from Jack Payne to fire narrowly over the bar for the hosts.
The hosts made a bright start to the second half proceedings but it was the visitors who had the first attempt on goal, with Nathan Delfouneso blazing well over with a volley on the turn at the back post.
As if the first half wasn’t scrappy enough, the second turned into a real bitty affair with very little quality on show from either side.
There was very little goalmouth action to speak of, apart from a Tom Owen-Evans effort for the home side which was blazed over the bar.
But the Seasiders grabbed that all-important second goal with their third penalty in as many games, with Mark Cullen scoring from 12 yards from the second game running.
It was also his fourth goal in his five games as Pool took advantage of a fairly generous penalty award, which came after Osayi-Samuel had been felled on the corner of the box.
It should have been the goal that killed the game for good but Newport were gifted a route back into the game as Alex Samuel took advantage of a defensive mix up to prod home from close range - with the referee playing advantage after almost blowing for a penalty.
With just minutes of normal time remaining, Dean Lyness was forced into making a vital stop as he got down well to save at his near post from Rigg’s low effort.
He made yet another crucial stop as he produced a fingertip save to tip a looping header over the bar.
The Newport 'keeper came up for the resulting corner but Pool broke and added a third through Osayi-Samuel, who tapped home past the backtracking Joe Day.
Blackpool: Lyness, Mellor, Aldred, Robertson, Daniel, Flores (Aimson), Payne, Danns (Black), Osayi-Samuel, Delfouneso, Cullen (Matt)
Subs: Slocombe, Philliskirk, Odelusi, Correia
Newport: Day, Pipe, Bird, Labadie (Demtriou), Butler, Samuel, O'Brien, Rigg, Nelson (Barnum-Bobb), Bennett, Owen-Evans (Gordon)
Subs: Bittner, Jackson, Randall, Williams
Referee: Brett Huxtable
Attendance: 2,427 (269 Blackpool)